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Psy.D. Students’ Knowledge of General Psychotherapy Outcome Research Findings

23 July 2010


Over six decades of psychotherapy outcome research has suggested that a few major factors consistently account for a majority of the variability observed in therapy outcomes. No research has examined what Psy.D. students know about these important factors, the active ingredients that make therapy “work.” The current cultural context for clinical practice includes managed care and a movement toward empirically supported treatments. In light of this, it was hypothesized that Psy.D. students would overestimate the contribution of specific techniques for therapy outcome. It was further hypothesized that students’ overall knowledge of outcome factors research findings would be low. In general, hypotheses were not supported. When compared to experts, Psy.D. students showed moderate to strong knowledge of outcome factors research findings. However, students significantly underestimated the overall support for therapy as an effective intervention in the literature. As students progressed in their Psy.D. programs, this inaccurate perception increased. Students’ awareness of the historical tension between research and practice may partially explain this finding. Recommendations for improving students’ core knowledge of outcome factors research are given.


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